Archive for the ‘Preserving’ Category
A couple of years ago, after I admired it in the Le Creuset outlet store in Williamsburg, Dan gave me a beautiful tagine (Moroccan cooking pot) for Christmas, along with a Moroccan cookbook. I haven’t used it a whole lot, but it looks great in the kitchen 😉
I want to use it more, but it seems like most of the recipes call for preserved lemons, which I haven’t been able to find around here. Preserved lemons are used as a flavoring in Moroccan cuisine, especially stews. The preservation method softens the lemons skins, like watermelon rind pickles, and gives a sharp lemony-salty kick to the dish.
It costs $10 for two preserved lemons in a jar from an online source, which seems like a lot to me. So I’ve just kept putting it off. I’ve thought about making my own preserved lemons; there’s a recipe for them in the book. But I’ve felt uncomfortable about the idea. Would I poison us?
But then, if you look at the recipe, the lemons are brined for a month in pure lemon juice and salt. Not much could survive that environment. And since I canned homemade salsa, watermelon rind and hot peppers last summer, I feel a lot more comfortable about preserving food at home.
Then in January, Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes wrote a blog post on making preserved lemons. A couple of weeks later, another food blog I follow, Food in Jars, posted an article on preserved limes that referred to a previous post on preserved lemons. The article on preserved lemons had over 70 comments where people described different ways of using the preserves.
So finally, on March 4, I made preserved lemons. They’re still softening up in the fridge, but they should come out nicely in another 10 days or so. And they’ll keep for at least a year. Can’t wait to start using them.
Adapted from “Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from My Moroccan Kitchen” by Kitty Morse
The traditional method for preserving lemons involves cutting the lemons a different way and sprinkling salt into the cuts; I found it awkward, so I just cut the lemons into wedges. This also makes it easier to remove a small amount for a recipe.
- 1 dozen lemons, five cut into eight wedges, the rest reserved for juicing (I bought organic lemons, since we’re eating the rind)
- 1/2 cup pickling salt or fine sea salt (kosher salt isn’t a good choice because you want the salt to dissolve quickly)
- 1 quart-size canning jar
Place the salt in a medium bowl. Press both sides of each lemon wedge into the salt and place into the canning jar. Juice the remaining lemons until the juice covers the wedges in the jar. Cover and refrigerate. Turn the jar gently every few days to redistribute the wedges. They’re ready to use after 30 days.
The green beans have been quite prolific this year. We have a couple of pounds in the freezer and a couple of pounds in the refrigerator. This is the year I plan to experiment with more food-preserving techniques, so last year, I purchased “Put ’em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling.” It’s full of wonderful ideas for enjoying fresh garden produce now and later.
Szechuan Pickled Green Beans
This refrigerator-pickle recipe for Szechuan Green Beans intrigued me because it’s so simple. It doesn’t involve the scary-seeming boiling-water method that is generally used for canning vegetables for the relatively long term – a few months to a year. This recipe just requires covering blanched beans with a seasoned vinegary brine and keeping it in the fridge. It will last for a month and the flavor deepens every day. Yum.
Szechuan Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans, washed, topped, and tailed
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, preferably Szechuan
- 1 (1-inch) knob ginger, sliced into coins
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
Line several baking sheets with dish towels and set aside. Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl or clean sink.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the beans into the water, no more than 1 pound at a time, and return to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute.
Scoop the beans out with a spider or slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice-water bath. Continue blanching in batches. Remove the beans from the ice bath with a slotted spoon and spread on the towel-covered baking sheets. Blot dry.
To make the pickles, pack the beans vertically in a quart jar.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Pour the hot brine over the beans to cover by 1/2 inch. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace between the top of the liquid and the lid.
Refrigerate: Cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Dad is here for Christmas and brought with him my cousin’s (Margaret) husband’s (Eric) slow-cooker recipe for pork carnitas, or pork cooked in its own fat. They can be served on their own or as a filling for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc.
The Orange Crush is an unusual ingredient, but the carnitas did taste quite good. And it may seem like a lot of jalapenos, but we thought it had a pleasant but not searing heat.
Dan and Dad had the carnitas with rice and beans, but I made soft tacos with mine. One of the toppings is homemade pickled onions – yummy!
And have a very Merry Christmas!
Slow-Cooker Carnitas by Eric
5 lbs. pork shoulder roast
1 large red onion, trimmed, peeled and cut into large chunks
6 jalapeno peppers, stemmed and cut in quarters; you may remove seeds and membranes for less heat
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed a bit with the side of a chef’s knife
12 oz. Orange Crush
toppings of choice: lettuce, tomato, cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, pickled onions, hot sauce
Optional: rice and beans; flour tortillas
Trim excess fat from pork shoulder and place in the slow cooker. Place the red onion, jalapenos, garlic and 8 oz. Orange Crush in a blender and puree. Pour contents over the roast, then pour the rest of the Orange Crush into the slow cooker. Turn heat to low and cook for 10-12 hours. Shred with two forks.
Serve with rice and beans, or as a filling for tacos.
We grew the jalapenos in our garden last summer, and had a bumper crop yet again. Even after sharing with some co-workers who like hot food, we had plenty to freeze. Just put them on a baking sheet, so they don’t stick together in a clump, and place in the freezer till frozen solid. Transfer to plastic bags. When you’re ready to use one or more, leave them on the counter for 1/2 hour or so to thaw, or put them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 30-45 seconds.
We had about 16 people over for Thanksgiving, and since we had spent two weeks in Europe, including a week in Italy, in September, naturally I wanted to serve antipasto for an appetizer.
But most people were holding out for the main event, so there was quite a bit left over. What to do with all these preserved meats and veggies? Put them in a pasta, of course! I found this great-sounding recipe and modified it for what we had and like, and it turned out great. I’ll definitely make it again.
This is my entry in Grow Your Own, the foodie event started by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this month by House of Annie. GYO celebrates the food we grow ourselves. We grew the basil and parsley for the pesto in this dish, and I froze pesto to use during the winter, since the basil was so prolific. The round-up of all the entries has been posted, so check them out!
Antipasto Pesto Pasta
1 medium roasted red bell pepper, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup marinated cocktail onions, halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
3 ounces salami, chopped
1/2 cup marinated mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup refrigerated pesto
8 ounces uncooked bow-tie pasta (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Place the roasted pepper, onions, olives, salami, mushrooms, and artichokes in a large bowl and mix gently.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt; drain. In a small bowl, mix together the pesto and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; add to bell pepper mixture, and toss to combine. Add pasta to bell pepper mixture and stir.
Sprinkle each serving with 2 tsp. remaining cheese and 2 tsp. pine nuts.
So I Googled for recipes, and the same one kept popping up. That seemed like a good endorsement, so I tried it. I’ll be honest – I haven’t actually tried this on anything yet. I mean, I like hot food, but after whizzing it in the blender, I gave it a sniff and you know what? I have one piece of advice: Don’t sniff the blender 😉
Homemade Tabasco Sauce
12 large Tabasco chile peppers, stemmed (I used 15 because that’s how ripe ones many I had)
1 clove peeled garlic
½ cup vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
Boil the chile peppers and garlic in vinegar in a small, non-metal saucepan until tender. Puree in a blender with the salt and sugar. Run through a metal sieve if necessary.
Dilute this paste with more vinegar until it is the consistency of rich cream. Pour into a non-metal saucepan, bring to a boil, then pour into a hot, sterilized bottle to within ½ inch of the rim.
Run a sterilized knife around the inside of the bottle to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim clean and seal with a scalded top. Store in the refrigerator once opened.
From: Red Hot Peppers by Jean Andrews
This is my entry in Grow Your Own, the twice-monthly food blogging event that celebrates homegrown produce and other items, originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this time by Heart and Hearth.
The roundup of all the recipes is here.
Wow, these heirloom tomatoes are producing even now, and the Anaheim chiles are going crazy. I stuffed some a few weeks ago, and found that you really do need to roast and peel these; the skin just doesn’t get soft with cooking, so it needs to go. So I spent an overcast, chilly Saturday roasting, peeling and freezing probably 5 pounds or so of Anaheims – wish I’d thought to weight them before I started, but oh well 🙂
I did find a few recipes the Anaheims will come in handy for this winter:
Anaheim peppers ready for roasting
After roasting under the broiler for 8-10 minutes
Most recipes I found call for 1/3 cup of roasted Anaheim peppers, so I froze them in snack-size bags, then put those inside freezer bags.